July 26, 2012

The Best Place to Work, Part 1: Surround yourself with the best and brightest

First in my series of posts around creating the best place to work  is to Surround yourself with the best and brightest.  This one is simple.  Build the best team you can possibly build…as you need it. As a founder, you may be the best person at doing everything in your company, especially if you are a technical founder.  But as my long-time Board member at Return Path Greg Sands always says, when the organism grows, cells start to specialize.  Eventually, you need a liver and a brain.  Just like companies need a head of sales and a CFO (not to imply that Anita likes the occasional cocktail or that Jack likes math – turns out both like both). How does this come into play as a CEO? -Don’t be afraid to hire people better than you at their specialty – older, wiser, more experienced, more expensive – Check references carefully – don’t get suckered in by resume or rolodex – some successful big company people don’t actually know how to do work or build a business, so you have to dig and find back-channel references – Don’t overhire before you’re ready, but especially as a start-up, better to hire 3 months […]


October 11, 2011

Productive Eavesdropping

Productive Eavesdropping We’re in the midst of some pretty extensive renovations of our offices in New York at the moment.  For better or for worse, we’re doing this work without moving out.  We’ve basically crammed everyone into the back half of the office right now while the contractors are working on the front half.  When that’s done, we’ll all move into the newly-refinished front so they can do the same in the back. One of the interesting side effects of this project is that I’m sharing my office with Anita Absey, our head of sales.  It’s the first time I’ve […]


September 22, 2011

Who Are Your CPO and COO?

Who Are Your CPO and COO? Every senior management team needs a CPO and a COO.  No, I’m not talking about Privacy and Operations.  I’m talking about Paranoia and Optimism.  On my leadership team at Return Path, many of us are Paranoid and many of us are Optimistic, and many of us can play both roles.  But I’m fortunate to have two business partners who are the Chiefs – George Bilbrey is our Chief Paranoia Officer, and Anita Absey is our Chief Optimism Officer.  Those monikers fit their respective roles (product and sales) as well as their personalities. My view […]